By Aderogba George
The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has affirmed that its initiatives are tied towards eradicating poverty in the Niger Delta Region, particularly in the lives of ex-agitators.
PAP made this known in a statement, signed by the Interim Administrator of PAP, Retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, in Abuja on Tuesday to mark the 2023 International Day for Eradication of Poverty, celebrated annually on October 17.
Ndiomu said that PAP, under his leadership, is creatively setting up opportunities to impact the lives of ex-agitators, beyond dependence on their N65,000 monthly stipends.
The administrator, speaking on the theme of the Poverty Eradication Day, ‘’Decent Work And Social Protection: Putting Dignity In Practice For All’’, said that PAP had introduced many initiatives to better the lives of ex-agitators.
He said that the initiatives that PAP had so far introduced, would create windows of opportunities for ex-agitators to escape the prediction of the World Bank which estimates that over the next decade, “one billion young people will try to enter the job market, but less than half of them will actually find formal jobs.”
Ndiomu noted that the already floated PAP Cooperative Scheme for ex-agitators, empowerment/vocational trainings and many more initiatives that are still in the pipeline, will solve poverty and change the negative narratives of the region.
He disclosed that over 700 ex-agitators have so far received funding in loans to undertake Agribusiness and other lucrative ventures, while 2,500 applications are waiting to be processed.
He highlighted the 75 pilots and aircraft engineers sponsored by the Presidential Amnesty Programme to various Aviation Training Organizations (ATO’s) in Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Toulouse, (France) for type-rating courses as part of its aviation training scheme.
Ndiomu recalled that when late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua instituted the PAP in 2009, the age range of ex-agitators who laid down their arms, was between 25 to 30.
According to him, 14 years later after the programme was introduced, those who laid down their arms have now hit an unemployable age range of between 50 and 55 years.
He said that with the reality on ground, PAP’s aim was to channel the mindset of ex-agitators away from formal employment and entitlement mentality, to a more viable and sustainable means of livelihood.
Ndiomu commended President Bola Tinubu for his determination to give further support and sustain the process, and give the PAP more life.
“The President has the interest of the Niger Delta at heart. We will work in line with his Renewed Hope Agenda to change the negative narratives of the region,” he said. (NAN)